The real 'Treasure Island'
... also known as Juan Fernández Island
This island, also known as Juan Fernández Island, is located in the archipelago of Juan Fernández, 414 miles off the coast of South America. It owes its name to the story of the shipwreck of Alexander Selkirk, immortalized in the famous novel "Robinson Crusoe', by Daniel Defoe.
True to its description in the story, the island is a fascinating lost paradise, with an endemic flora and fauna that is unknown in other latitudes. Seventy percent of the plant species in the island are endemic, and you may see the Juan Fernández fur seal or the Juan Fernandez firecrown, both unique to this area.
Juan Fernández firecrownThe archipelago is currently a World Biosphere Reserve. Its landscape does justice to the novel, with peaks rising 1,500m above sea level, paths for walks and a beach with temperate waters where one can swim or scuba dive in places where there are sunken ships or fish for lobster. The island is utopia come to life.
The island receives a special kind of tourist such as naturalists or people who dive for sport and also demanding adventurers because there are very few comforts to be found here. Instead, you may enjoy a savage and virgin nature that captivates and causes quite an impression on everybody who goes there.
This remote, uninhabited archipelago entered the history books in 1575, when Portuguese sailor Juan Fernández, sailing between Pen and Valparaiso, deviated from his standard course and sighted the islands by chance. Occasionally visited by pirates and explorers, the island gained lasting fame beginning in 1708, when Scotsman Alexander Selkirk was rescued after four years marooned on the island; Selkirk's account of the ordeal sparked the imagination of Daniel Defoe, who used it as the basis for his famous novel, Robinson Crusoe.
Like Easter Island, Juan Fernández is of volcanic origin, dating from about 3 million years ago; one of the submarine volcanos near the same 'hotspot' erupted in 1835. The three islands of the archipelago - Robinson Crusoe, Santa Clara, and Alexander Selkirk - rise steeply out of the Pacific, with few beaches and a limited number of protected bays, possibly formed by ancient volcanic craters.
Flora and fauna
Over 70% of the plant species found in Robinson Crusoe's forest ecosystems are endemic, meaning that they Robinson Crusoe Islandare found nowhere else in the world. Giant ferns known as palmillos, the endemic chonta palm, and a wide variety of climbing vines are among the island's most noteworthy flora; the aromatic sandalwood tree, now extinct on the island, was last observed in 1908. The island's fauna is no less remarkable, with three endemic landbirds including the spectacular Juan Fernandez firecrown, a native hummingbird and a rich marine ecosystem with innumerable schooling fish and a recovering population of Juan Fernandez fur seals, hunt near extinction during the 19th century. Plants and animals introduced from the mainland, which have long threatened the integrity of native ecosystems, are being eliminated from the island in an ambitious project funded in part by the Dutch government.
Scuba and snorkeling
Robinson Crusoe's marine ecosystem is quite nearly as unique as its terrestrial ecosystem - and every bit as beautiful. Excellent visibility, steep sea cliffs, vast schools of endemic fish species, and abundant spiny lobsters attract connoisseurs to this little-known dive paradise.
Trekking is not only the best way to visit Robinson Crusoe heavily forest interior - it is the only way. Rugged trails connect the town of San Juan Bautista with highlight attractions such as the Mirador de Selkirk - to which the wrecked sailor climbed each day to scan the horizon for ships- and lead on to Cerro El Yunque, at 915m the highest point on the island.
We also have a fantastic range of TEAM ZISSOU clothing from the the film The Life Aquatic, read about the film here (sorry, no speedos as yet)...
Visit it the shop to see the whole range Click to order from Europe or North America
"People protect what they love."
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau
This site would not be complete without a mention of the red capped Captain him self.. Jacques-Yves Cousteau..